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  • LA Phil release CD of Complete Symphonies of Charles Ives
  • Jan. 29, 2021






    “It’s a glorious achievement.”

    The Guardian · 5-star review


    “… an exhilarating, multi-layered, musical dream.”

    Financial Times · 4-star review


    “There are two chief reasons for Dudamel’s success as an Ives conductor with the LA Phil. One is their joint command of complex detail, conveyed in textures that seem to illuminate every thread in the music’s crazy patchwork (craziest of all in the overwhelming Fourth). The other is boundless enthusiasm and affection for whatever Ives puts forth.”

    BBC Music Magazine · 5-star review


    “The evolution of American music is chronicled right here in this quartet of symphonies. And when heard – as I did here – in a single sitting, it’s as if Ives is transitioning from the Old World to the New before our very ears... Dudamel – who clearly knows where Ives is coming from – embraces this ‘new normal’ [in No. 3] with much affection... Their panache is decidedly not central European.”

    Gramophone Magazine


    The Ives recording was made possible by generous support from Michele Moehring


    LOS ANGELES (January 29, 2021) - Charles Ives was an American original, an artist ahead of his time who explored novel combinations of traditional classical forms and American vernacular music, pioneering and exploiting techniques of polytonality, polyrhythm and textural complexity. The composer’s four symphonies were recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in landmark interpretations by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel during highly acclaimed concert performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall in February 2020. Charles Ives – Complete Symphonies was released digitally last August and is now set for its full international release on 29 January 2021, having already received no fewer than three Grammy nominations: Best Orchestral Performance, Best Engineered Album (Classical) and Producer of the Year (Classical).

    Charles Ives – Complete Symphonies offers fresh insights into the music of a radical thinker, creator of what Leonard Bernstein called “his own private musical revolution.” Maestro Dudamel’s special affinity for the composer’s symphonies and the performance of the Los Angeles Philharmonic earned rave reviews during the orchestra’s Ives-Dvořák festival in early 2020. “It was, in its every gesture, vibrantly, rapturously, outrageously American,” commented the Los Angeles Times on their performance of the First Symphony.

    According to San Francisco Classical Voice, “The most significant takeaway from Gustavo Dudamel's cycle of Charles Ives’s four symphonies with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is this: he is one helluva fine Ives conductor.” The reviewer praised the conductor for extracting “the essence of every aspect, quirk and vision of this American iconoclast.”

    Dudamel’s readings of the symphonies grow from his delight in their restless energy, myriad colors and textures, irresistible references to popular American melodies and impulsive changes of mood. “Ives was a man full of ideas and he was trying to create something unique,” the conductor comments. “When you see calm and contemplation, maybe in a moment it’s complete chaos. At the end, what Ives was doing was opening the door to the texture and the personality of music created in the United States. His symphonies are a great gift to the world. I’m delighted that we could record these amazing works for Deutsche Grammophon.”

    Charles Ives – Complete Symphonies represents a significant new addition to the Deutsche Grammophon catalog. The Yellow Label’s album opens with the First Symphony, written between 1898 and 1908 but not performed complete until 1953. The five-movement Second Symphony (c.1907-09 with later revisions) underlines Ives’ maverick status with its ultra-progressive combination of European classical and American popular influences. Subtitled “The Camp Meeting,” the Third Symphony (1908-11) received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1947, noted for its nostalgic reflections on the hymns, marches and campfire tunes of the composer’s New England childhood. The Fourth Symphony (c.1912-18 with later revisions) received its premiere in 1965, more than a decade after Ives’ death, and remains a benchmark of musical invention, ingenuity and ambition.

    About the Composer: Charles Ives was born in 1874 in Danbury, Connecticut. His father was the youngest bandmaster in the Union Army during the American Civil War and encouraged his son to make music. Young Ives also excelled at baseball and American football. He received a solid grounding in harmony and counterpoint from his composition professor at Yale University, and ran experiments in mixing different types of music with the Hyperion Theater Orchestra. Ives made his living in the insurance business and composed in his spare time, a practical arrangement that delivered great creative freedom.  This staunchly independent thinker synthesized the American folk tunes and hymns of his childhood with his own aesthetic, using techniques such as bitonality and polyrhythms decades before they entered the standard 20th-century composition toolbox to create a unique sound and a personal voice – truly, an American original.




    Charles Ives (1874-1954)


    Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Gustavo Dudamel

    Los Angeles Master Chorale

    Marta Gardolińska


    Symphony No. 1

    1. Allegro con moto
    2. Adagio molto. Sostenuto
    3. III. Scherzo. Vivace
    4. Allegro molto


    Symphony No. 2

    1. Andante moderato
    2. Allegro
    3. III. Adagio cantabile
    4. Lento maestoso
    5. Allegro molto vivace


    Symphony No. 3 (“The Camp Meeting”)

    1. Old Folks Gatherin’ – Andante maestoso
    2. Children’s Day – Allegro moderato
    3. Communion – Largo


    Symphony No. 4

    1. Prelude. Maestoso
    2. Comedy. Allegretto
    3. Fugue. Andante moderato
    4. Finale. Very slowly – Largo maestoso




    Available for purchase at the LA Phil store


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    About the LA Phil

    Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives, and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond. The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is the foundation of the LA Phil’s offerings, which also include a multi-genre, multidisciplinary presenting program and such youth development programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles). Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms. In all of its endeavors, the LA Phil seeks to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through musical, artistic, and learning experiences that resonate in our world today.


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  • Contact:

    For more information, please contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,

    Lisa White,